Religious Authority to Ordain 11 New Rabbis of Ethiopian Descent

New rabbis to boost number of religous officials serving Ethiopian Jewish community.

The National Authority of Religious Services (NARS) will ordain 11 new Ethiopian rabbis, it was reported Monday.

A board made-up of officials from the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption, National Religious Council and Chief Rabbis Office will examine the rabbis' incorporation into the authority.

The Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs called for the authority to ordain more rabbis of Ethiopian descent over half a year ago. Only one rabbi of Ethiopian descent has so far been ordained: Rabbi Yosef Hadanah, who is designated as the community's chief rabbi.

The dearth of rabbis of Ethiopian descent has caused troubles for many Ethiopian Jews, also known as Beta Israel, whose number is estimated at 100,000 in Israel.

Some regional religious councils have refused to marry couples of Ethiopian Jews over claims of suspect Judaism, forcing them to travel to Hadanah's place of residence in Tel Aviv to bypass the obstacle.

A decree was issued by the official in charge of religious affairs at the Prime Minister's office forbidding religious councils from snubbing couples of Ethiopian descent, but some cases have persisted.